Do you struggle to demonstrate your content’s effectiveness? Are you trying to attribute revenue to your content efforts? Our guest, Steffen Hedebrandt, CMO of Dreamdata, is the expert you need to connect with.

In this episode, Steffen joins us to discuss:

  • the importance of building a revenue-focused content marketing plan 
  • why you should view the impact of content touches throughout buyer journey stages (rather than “last” or “first” touch only
  • how this approach can help guide and justify time, resources, and spend on content marketing 

About Steffen Hedebrandt

Steffen Hedebrandt, Chief Marketing Officer at Dreamdata a Revenue Attribution Platform that collects, joins, and cleans all data to give an insightful value to your business.

Steffen is a subject matter expert in connecting marketing activities with revenue. He has an exceptional growth mindset, is data-driven by heart, and loves all parts of scaling the commercial side of a business.

A notorious growth hacker with a successful track record of scaling businesses and building teams at Upwork and Airtame, Steffen knows the pain points of rapidly scaling marketing and growth firsthand.

Want to connect with Steffen?
Find him on LinkedIn at

➡ Find out more on Dreamdata’s Content Analytics.

About The B2B Mix

The B2B Mix Show with Alanna Jackson and Stacy Jackson is brought to you by The B2B Mix agency. Need help with your B2B online presence? Let’s talk!

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Stacy Jackson: Welcome to the B2B Mix Show with Alanna and Stacy. In each episode, we'll bring you ideas that you can implement in your sales and marketing strategy. We'll share what we know along with advice from industry experts who will join us on the show. Are you ready to mix it up? Let's get started.

Stacy Jackson: Hello, Alanna.

Alanna Jackson: Hello, Stacy.

Stacy Jackson: How are you today, my friend?

Alanna Jackson: I'm just dandy, and you?

Stacy Jackson: Great.

Alanna Jackson: I'm hot. We're in Florida. So it's hot.

Stacy Jackson: Yeah, it's hot. My face seems like it's red, even though we're in air conditioning. So it is hot. But you know what else is hot? This topic. And I don't mean the store. Why don't you tell our listeners what this topic is, lady?

Alanna Jackson: So today we're going to be talking about how to attribute your content to revenue, which is something that everybody's always trying to do, right? Especially marketers. You want to prove that the hard work that you're doing is resulting in some good leads and some sales.

Stacy Jackson: Today's guest has tips to help marketers who want to learn more about how their content is contributing to revenue and sales. Alanna, would you like to introduce our panelist today?

Alanna Jackson: Steffen Hedebrandt is the Chief Marketing Officer at Dream Data, and that is a revenue attribution platform and it collects, joins and cleans all data to give you an insightful value to your business. And Steffen is a subject matter expert in connecting marketing activities with revenue, which is what we're going to be talking about today. And he has an exceptional growth mindset. He's data driven by heart and loves all the parts of scaling the commercial side of business. And he is a notorious growth hacker with a successful track record of scaling businesses and building teams at Upwork and Airtame. Steffen knows the pain points of rapidly scaling marketing and growth firsthand. So we are excited to have him on today to talk about how to attribute your content to revenue.

Stacy Jackson: Thank you so much for joining us today on our podcast. Before we get started, could you tell us a little bit more about Dream Data and what your company does?

Steffen Hedebrandt: Yes. Happy to Stacy. And yeah, thanks for letting me join your show. So Dream Data is basically a B2B go to market data platform. And what that means is that we're a data warehouse where you can connect all the tools you use in going to market, speaking to your customers, et cetera, and put that into our pocket. And then our algorithms clean up all this data and leave you with a holistic account based data model, which is a fine word for saying, it's a timeline of every single touch that you have with an account, all the way from the first touch until you see that you win a ideal. And then what takes place is that we extract all the data from the CRM system, from the marketing automation system, et cetera. And then let's say, Stacy, exists in four or five different systems. Then we de-duplicate that and then make sure that the system can see it's just one Stacy, but she's just appearing doing different stuff in different tools.

Alanna Jackson: Does it act alone? I'm sorry. Does it act alone or does it work with like HubSpots and Salesforce and things like that?

Steffen Hedebrandt: Yes. I don't know how technical your listeners are, but I think the technical term would be that we are a first party data processor. So that means that we work with the data that the company can give us. So that's typically their CRM HubSpot, some kind of marketing automation tool, their ad platforms, the traffic on their website and so forth. So they give us all the data that they have collected themselves. And then we just process for them and build this account based timeline of every account.

Alanna Jackson: So it kind of cleans the data, like you said? So what you're getting is good data, it's not crap. For lack of a better word.

Steffen Hedebrandt: Yeah. We can make it a touch wides, why this is nice. So B2B companies, you guys notice, typically, they buy more as a team than as an individual. And that means that three or five people are involved in the buyers journey. The journey might take you six months and have 30 sessions or something like that. And in this scenario where let's just say, there's three people involved in a deal, that quite typically you'd see that the marketing activity starts the journey, but then that journey might end with that person. And then another person takes the torch and carries it on. And then those two people have a boss that signs the contract. It's fine that you sell something, but it's a problem that you can actually not join that timeline because then the money you spent starting the journey is not connected to the revenue that you produce from winning the deal. So then that makes it very hard to decide which activities you should do more of, which activities you should do less of.

Alanna Jackson: Right. Which really leads us into what we're talking about today, how content impacts revenue and how you can attribute those two things together. So everyone wants to know, if the content that they're making is worth it. If it's doing anything, if it's impacting sales and your bottom line. But before we get into all that, maybe we need to take a step back and talk about how your content strategy. So what do marketers need to know about developing that revenue focused content strategy for B2B?

Steffen Hedebrandt: Good question. So I tell you how we think about it. So our company is just about three to four years old now. The first few years we initially let the content production be guided by the sales team very much because the questions that those guys hear repeatedly are stuff that we should definitely address with content. Because salespeople, they do the one on one communication. And that's the good thing about marketing is that you can then take a one to many approach. So if the one to one consistently asks similar things, then you can go out and produce a really well written answer to a tough question. So the salesperson doesn't have to in depth be able to answer really, for example, technical stuff or a marketing topic that they're not a master of. That we can deal with in marketing. So the first long period, we just let the salespeople tell us what are people asking. Don't trying to invent the wheel, but let's just listen to what we are being asked.

Steffen Hedebrandt: And this is really how I see companies should think about their website. It should be like a library to any given question that you might ask about your company. Because I think nowadays people don't want to speak to salespeople before they've almost made the decision about buying. So you need to think about making sure that your website exhausts all questions you might have related to your product. So that was a long, like a warmup to the answer. But I'm having a blast.

Alanna Jackson: Which is true though, because a lot of times when the sales and marketing teams aren't speaking, you're missing out on those wonderful opportunities that the sales team is getting. They're getting all these questions and maybe your content isn't even answering that question. So maybe you're too focused on hitting a keyword for SEO or something like that. So that's a really good point.

Steffen Hedebrandt: Yes. Then mistakes I've made myself in the past has really been to... I don't know how familiar you are with search engines, but there's these search engine tools where you can look up how much traffic is thrown on a particular keyword. And earlier in my career, I was very focused on finding a somewhat relevant keyword, but that had a large volume. And then I tried to get that traffic into the website. But it turns out that it's much better to focus your attention on the high intent searches. For example, could be the B2B attribution software. If somebody wrote that, then we would love to have them on our website. If somebody just searched for attribution, the intention behind that search would be very weak. So would definitely not, nowadays I wouldn't spend time on doing so. But I think there's 1 million opinions about content, but I think if you split the discipline up into two buckets.

Steffen Hedebrandt: So there's one you do for the search engines where you try to rank on certain searches in the search engine, then pull people to your website. The other type of contents or another way of analyzing it is to look at what are the pages on your website that people look at as they're going through a buying process. And this is some of what we can do with Dream Data as well. So we have a tracking script and this tracking script records every single session by every user and every URL that this user watches and that we have aggregated across the whole account. And if you aggregate that up to when all the deals you've won, you'll start to see certain URLs are present when people become closed one in your CRM system. So for example, what I have found out which there's three or four URLs that I can anecdote here, but one the integrations page people always look at before if they buy.

Steffen Hedebrandt: We also have a community page, which is basically just a link to our Slack channel. That's always present, also present. Our about page, which we never, ever spend any significant time on is also viewed quite often before people buy. So there're these pages you check when you want to be sure you can trust the company that will never ever pull you any traffic from the search engines, but it's still important asset that really needs to be trustworthy and nice when a customer is considering whether they should buy your product. And then the the last funny one was that we could see that our 404 page, the error page, if people manage to find this on our website, that actually also typically correlates with them being close to actually buying.

Alanna Jackson: Really?

Steffen Hedebrandt: Yeah.

Steffen Hedebrandt: But I think it's an expression that they're really going deep around the website to read every single bit. And then if they can find something, if that is present, then they might be actually interested in buying.

Stacy Jackson: That's funny, I guess that does make a sort of sense though.

Alanna Jackson: Yeah.

Steffen Hedebrandt: We were quite surprised.

Alanna Jackson: So do you have a trigger warning when someone hits that 404 page? You're like, "Okay, let's get ready. It's coming."

Steffen Hedebrandt: Exactly. If we were to build a lead scoring model, that would probably have to be present.

Alanna Jackson: Yeah.

Steffen Hedebrandt: Does this kind of thinking make sense guys?

Stacy Jackson: Yes, absolutely.

Alanna Jackson: Yeah.

Stacy Jackson: I know a lot of people think in terms of ABM these days, but it sounds like even if you don't have an ABM formal model that you should consider some of the things that people who have a formal ABM plan are. Like defining your ICPs, your ideal customer profiles and thinking about intent. Are there any other things that people should maybe adopt that mindset as far as their strategy for content goes?

Steffen Hedebrandt: Good question. Obviously you will have to define what we mean by ABM as well. But if we think about it as we're selling to an account, a company, then I think I would start looking at for our product, who's typically part of the decision making process. For example, when we sell at Dream Data there's typically three to four people involved in the deal. And you need to make sure that you've just not made content for just one of these people. So if there's a CFO, a security officer, a marketer, and a salesperson involved, then you need answers to all four of these people and not just. The marketer or the salesperson.

Stacy Jackson: Yeah, definitely. I think that's a good point. Because too often we think about just that one decision maker and not all the influencers that we need to be creating content for.

Steffen Hedebrandt: Yeah, exactly. And maybe the influencers are not the ones that are starting the journey, so you should only maybe spend 10, 20% of your time on these because you want to be pulling in traffic from the social media and the search engines towards, which let's say it's the market and the sales people. But they still need some URLs that they can send internally to their team. Because when it's popular to talk about when you find your champion for buying your product, this champion still needs to go to market inside the company to make sure I get the budget. I get the approval of non security part, et cetera. And if you don't have that supporting content-

Alanna Jackson: Yeah. Because there's a whole lot of people involved in that whole decision. It's not like it used to be.

Steffen Hedebrandt: Obviously, you might be dealing, some might be dealing with micro businesses where it's the guy or girl that starts the journey is also the guy that has to do the security check and can sign the contract. And then it's a little bit different flavor.

Stacy Jackson: Well, once you've established your strategy for B2B marketing and the content revenue focus, what's the next step that marketers need to do in it, attributing content for revenue? What are the need to think about in terms of their data and systems? What are some pointers for them?

Steffen Hedebrandt: Yeah. So where to the start. So I think one thing is that if you want to do these kinds of analysis, first of all, you need to wire your organization to actually make sure that your actions leave digital traces. Because if there's no sign of what was the activity that took place, then you can't. And what I'm trying to say here is that you have to go through all your go to market teams activities. So if you do your customer success work from a Gmail inbox, it probably doesn't leave a lot of traces about who did what. If your sales team is just picking up their own phone and calling the customers, then that doesn't leave a lot of traces of what actually took place. So they could, for example, be using our calling software instead.

Steffen Hedebrandt: The same with the activity on your website. If you haven't installed any tracking script on the website, you are not actually able to understand, like I spent this money or we did these activities and now people came to our website and booked them also something. So step one is definitely going through. Think about the customer journey, whether we meet our customers and speak to them. And make sure that we have actually set it up in a way that generates data.

Steffen Hedebrandt: Because if we don't have that, then we can't start to extract knowledge out of it.

Alanna Jackson: Otherwise, you're just making it up. Yeah. You don't have anything to go on, no solid evidence of anything.

Steffen Hedebrandt: And then you can then go on to talk about, the best thing you can do is if you directly can connect your content to revenue. But that's typically a harder discipline in B2B because we're talking about these longer journeys with more stakeholders, et cetera, involved. So you might want to think about what could be a good proxy metric, a good proxy conversion for revenue. That could be your, we know that one out of a hundred who signs up to the newsletter ends up buying. So you could be tracking how many emails does our content generate. Maybe a step further towards the money could be a demo call, which you might want to be tracking. Here, it's maybe one out of 50 who ends up buying. And then could you even take it longer to a demo call? And then a second meeting started by a certain piece of content.

Steffen Hedebrandt: So that's one way to go about it. The way we do it in Dream Data is that we have a fairly advanced platform, so you get a tracking script from us, this tracking script stores, inside our data warehouse, every URL that every user looked at. And then we join that together with the CRM system where we can see what are the accounts. And if we sold to them, we can also get the money component and then say, okay, this account started the journey from this URL and ended up buying. And that's maybe one of the big differences between B2C and B2B, is that in B2C if it's a web show, somebody comes to the website and they buy. Then it's pretty easy to see. In Shopify, they landed on this page. But in B2B, it's a-

Alanna Jackson: It's still a lot longer process. Yeah.

Steffen Hedebrandt: It's a mess. It's very common.

Stacy Jackson: And a lot of times, the whole process of they'll see something on social, maybe they saw it and then they come back later. So there's a lot of different pieces to it, which that can happen in B2C too, but probably not as often. Because in B2C, you're going to say, "Oh yeah, I want that." And go ahead. But it's a longer process and thought process in B2B.

Steffen Hedebrandt: Yeah. We actually, we put out some benchmarks earlier this year where if we could see for a problem, we analyzed around a 500 accounts and their average journey had 32 sessions recorded before a deal happened. And this is recorded session. But on top of this, you also have all the views on LinkedIn and Facebook, et cetera, where they might not have clicked through to your website. So B2B is just, as you say, it's super much a multi-touch game where you need-

Alanna Jackson: Yeah. 32 is a lot.

Steffen Hedebrandt: And that's the average. So some is higher, some is lower. But yeah, I feel to me just means that you need to be super productive. You need to put out a lot of good content all the time in order to just keep moving them, these small steps forward.

Alanna Jackson: Right. So I know that one of the things that was mentioned is putting your metrics into two different models. So an attribution model and revenue model. Can you kind of talk through that?

Steffen Hedebrandt: Yeah. Okay. So if we go back to what I said initially about getting every touch of an account into a timeline. Then we have something we call, it's basically a stage model. So you can say from first touch to MQL, that could be one stage. From first touch to SQL, that could be another stage. And from first touch to one could be a third stage. So depending on which stage you say, I want to understand and analyze, after that you then apply an attribution model. So it could be from first touch to becoming a marketing qualified lead.

Steffen Hedebrandt: I'm trying to explain and not make it two conflicts, but let's say the full journey is 10 touches. Then from first touch to MQL might only be three touches. So if you apply a less touch model to this, that means that the last touch will be the last touch before they became an MQL and not the less touch before they bought. Does that make sense?

Alanna Jackson: Yeah.

Steffen Hedebrandt: So the stage model basically sets at which stage of the journey are we analyzing. And then you have a certain amount of sessions there. And then the attribution model applies only to the selected time period. You can say the reason why this is nice to do is because if the average B2B journey is six months, we can't just as marketers do an activity and then sit back and wait for six months to see whether it worked or not. We want to be able at to-

Alanna Jackson: Right, right, because then you don't know what you need to be working on next. Yeah.

Steffen Hedebrandt: You want to have something that is, where you can easily connect, this was the actions I did. And now we reached MQL stage, which might only take maybe 14 days to get there. And then you can look back and say, okay, did it work? Did it not work? What can we do more of?

Alanna Jackson: So I we've hinted at what's several of the benefits are if we take this revenue focus, content approach, but maybe we can just really dig into those obviously help you justify where you spend your time and money, but maybe you can give us some more in depth meat around that topic.

Steffen Hedebrandt: Yeah. So I can just anecdote. And one of my own experiences at my last company, we had been very heavily driven by paid ads initially. And then from one year to the next, I decided now it's the time to ramp up our content production as well. So I went out and hired a videographer, a designer, a writer, and a manager for that team. So then suddenly I had a head count of four people just doing content. And things started out nicely that you could see in Google analytics that more people would be arriving from organic searching Google to our website. That's fine. At least a sign that something is happening, but inside of Google analytics, as a B2B company, you don't get to see any revenue component. There's no money and they're in a B2B company because the money sits in the CRM system. And then when the CEO comes asking to me whether, Steffen, was this is a good idea that we hired these four people to produce content? Back then I would be stuck with answering.

Steffen Hedebrandt: We get more organic traffic. Well, okay. I can't pay the salary with more organic traffic. So-

Alanna Jackson: Did it produce any revenue, right?

Steffen Hedebrandt: Yeah, exactly. So the problem is that of the content typically would start journeys or be the earlier part of the journey, which then would be taking on by the sales people afterwards. And then I couldn't connect the dots from the activity of the content, with the revenue. And then that makes it a massive problem to defend headcount. So that's why you need to establish and I think this is the market source responsibility to educate the people you work together with. Why are we doing these things? Why is it valuable? Okay. We cannot prove that we directly generate money, but maybe I can prove that we generate demo calls and we win one out of five demo calls. So it makes sense for us to continue with producing this content.

Stacy Jackson: Yes. I think that's definitely something that most marketers want to know. And it also helps you defend what you're doing to the sales team who says, you're not bringing in any leads. Well, we did influence these.

Stacy Jackson: Or it also teaches you a lesson if you're not helping.

Steffen Hedebrandt: And then all journeys are not equal. So maybe you have certain pieces of content that consistently sets up nice leads for the sales people. Whereas say you just produce funny cat videos that might produce a lot of... You might be able to generate a lot of emails from that because the cats are cute, but it's probably not going to be your next customer coming out of that type of content.

Stacy Jackson: Yeah, exactly. So can you share some use cases of how Dream Data's content analytics product and how you can make the most of your content data with it?

Steffen Hedebrandt: Yes. So if we go back to what I said earlier, we can help show which pieces of content generates sales pipeline and what pieces of content generate deals. And quite typically, it's not necessarily the pieces of content that has the highest search volumes that actually do this, which then if you end up spending your resources on just generating traffic to your website that never ever becomes sales pipeline and revenue, then roughly speaking, then you're just wasting your company's time and money because we should be doing our marketing activities to produce revenue. Then now that you know which pieces of content generates the sales pipeline and revenue, then you can think about which content should I be producing more of in the future. But it could also be that you find out that this piece of content actually doesn't rank too well in Google though it has produced revenue. So let's try and do some of that stuff that can move some content up in the search engines, like link building, making the website faster, et cetera.

Alanna Jackson: I have a quick question. Do you know, based on the research that you've done, I think you said you looked at 500 companies. Do you know if any of that shows like the type of content that maybe turns someone into a customer, or is it typically blogs? Is it an ebook or a webinar, podcast? Did you come across any of that in the data that you researched or did you not go to that angle?

Steffen Hedebrandt: That's actually a really good... So that's good topic for a new benchmark study. So this one we did recently was about the customer journey. And we just also put out some benchmarks on, for example, CPM prices for ads right now, which is just completely falling through the floor at the moment. So it would actually be fun to look at, across all the accounts, which types of content is better. Is it the webinar? Is it the ebook? We haven't done that. But one method that I consistently see working is then... this is just for your listeners, that the alternative articles to established brands in your industry always seems to be working quite well. So that is, let's say you're in the customer success software industry, then I know Zendesk has done a lot to defend against this, but then you would take brand name, Zendesk, and then write an alternative to that because then people who are searching for an established brand, but an alternative to it, they understand what they're looking for. But they're probably looking for some cheaper or a little bit different.

Alanna Jackson: Cheaper, yeah, that was my first thing.

Steffen Hedebrandt: Yeah. So think about, as a listener, who are the established brands in our industry? And then you can produce an article that can be a ticket in the lottery for people searching for alternatives.

Alanna Jackson: Yeah. And like comparisons.

Steffen Hedebrandt: One thing you should... Yeah, exactly, comparisons.

Steffen Hedebrandt: But one thing, at least in Danish law, I think in a lot of commercial law, it needs to be something that is objectively true, what you put there. Otherwise, you can risk. I have received letters from lawyers.

Alanna Jackson: Yeah. Have integrity about how you're doing it and don't just bash them and talk horrible about them. But just put the facts out there and just talk about here's-

Steffen Hedebrandt: You can do it pretty stylish, just writing stuff that is objectively true comparisons. And at the end of the day, you don't want to talk somebody into buying your product who's not going to be a happy customer.

Stacy Jackson: You know, what's funny on that topic, I think it was survey monkey. But they used that again for their own benefit. They bid on alternative to survey monkey and their ad was, there is no alternative to survey monkey. So you could even use it to your own advantage.

Steffen Hedebrandt: I don't know if it exists anymore, but Zendesk invented a rock band called Zendesk Alternative.

Alanna Jackson: Oh really?

Steffen Hedebrandt: They put up a music video and stuff like that.

Stacy Jackson: That's awesome.

Steffen Hedebrandt: That was super funny.

Stacy Jackson: I'll have to see. Look Ben, see if I can find that.

Alanna Jackson: So before we wrap things up, are there any tips or details that you'd like to share with our listeners?

Steffen Hedebrandt: So regarding this content, I would say that the most important thing is, for me, would be to produce high quality stuff and think about going for the intention rather than the volume, because at the end of the day, we're trying to, at least I am, trying to get new customers from producing content. And I think also the reason why I'm saying high quality is that every interaction with your brand and company forms your opinion. So if you put out low quality stuff, people might read it and then think this is probably not a trustworthy brand or they might tell their friends that I read this crappy article here. So be aware to produce a content of a certain quality too because it represents your company out there.

Stacy Jackson: All right. Well, we usually ask one just for fun question before we let our guests go. So if you weren't Chief Marketing Officer at Dream Data, what would your dream job be?

Steffen Hedebrandt: I can tell you what I wanted to be as a child. And I also wanted to be a football commentator.

Alanna Jackson: Oh yeah?

Steffen Hedebrandt: Because then I knew I could go and travel around the world to watch-

Alanna Jackson: All the games.

Steffen Hedebrandt: Soccer, and the American. Yeah. And I remember I thought that would be a good job if I could go to the games and watch games all the time.

Alanna Jackson: So maybe you should create some content for Dream Data, a video or something where you're doing the commentating, like a football game.

Steffen Hedebrandt: I don't know if I'm good at it, but I would love to see the games.

Stacy Jackson: Yeah. Well, if people want to connect with you, how should they do that?

Steffen Hedebrandt: It's LinkedIn where I'm by far the most active. So people can just connect and ask any question if they have any after listening to this.

Alanna Jackson: Okay, Perfect. So you should go and connect with Steffen on LinkedIn. And if you want to connect with me or Stacy, you can find us on Twitter. Stacy is Stacy_Jax. I can't even spell her name. That's S-T-A_C-Y underscore J-A-X. And I am Alanna_Jax. A-L-A-N-N-A underscore J-A-X. And you can also find us on LinkedIn, Alanna Jackson or Stacey Jackson. See you next time.

Alanna Jackson: The B2B mix show is hosted by Stacy Jackson and Alanna Jackson of, you guessed it, the B2B Mix Agency. If you need help with your B2B inbound marketing efforts, visit us at

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